Update: summer 2019
This rating was first published in September 2017 when the Apple TV 4K was first released and has been updated significantly since then. After nearly two years in the market and numerous upgrades, the Apple TV 4K remains our first choice for video streamers for Apple fans and those who don’t mind paying extra for its benefits – namelyand a premium user experience.
Since launch, Apple TV 4K has added oneand added As part of the and make it a . The with a new channel option and iTunes integration. A software update for TVOS 13 that will be released in autumn 2019 will add support for as well as , which will be especially useful when the also starts later this year.
In other words, Apple TV 4K just keeps getting better. However, the original non-4K Apple TV HD remains available for $ 150pays the extra $ 30 for the Apple TV 4K. If you own a 4K or HDR TV, you get an immediate benefit, and even if you don’t, the chances are good that your next TV will be .
The Apple TV 4K’s biggest competition comes from Roku and Amazon, especially the oneand . At less than half the price, both are superior to the Apple TV 4K for most people, and the Roku is still our favorite streamer for the money.
Not a price, but the Apple TV 4K is the best. And it’s not really that expensive, especially when you factor in the cost of the high-end TV and audio equipment that makes it look and sound its best. With extensive support for 4K, HDR and audio formats, its sleek design and constant upgrades, the Apple TV 4K wins the Editors’ Choice Award.
Apple’s 4K streaming box is hands down the best product of its kind. However, you should only buy one if you want a premium experience and are willing to pay for it.
It combines the best streaming quality available today – including Dolby Vision HDR video that no other streamer has and Dolby Atmos audio – with the smoothest, most polished feel. It’s as fast and capable as any streamer. And if you’ve just bought an expensive 4K HDR TV, the price tag on an Apple TV seems like a very worthwhile drop in the ocean.
Thenow costs less than half and is almost as good. They both do basically the same thing very well, and Roku has its own significant advantages that go beyond price. Roku has more 4K apps, including YouTube, whose numerous 4K and HDR videos are not available on Apple TV 4K. Roku’s platform is more content-neutral and I like the price-conscious search results.
What do I mean by “experience”? Apple TV has one path Nicer remote controls, leaner controls, better looking menus, more up-to-date apps, superior voice search and control, and great access to movies and TV shows purchased from other services like Vudu and Amazon thanks to the Movies Anywhere integration with iTunes. In everyday life, using Apple TV just feels better.
In the end, Roku’s value proposition makes it a better choice for most people. However, if you only want the best product regardless of price, this is the Apple TV 4K.
Apple TV 4K basics
Before I dive into the details and details, here’s a look at the recent top-level additions and facts about Apple TV 4K.
- The Apple TV 4K has all the major video streaming apps you could want and is the only streamer with it This is a central place for browsing videos from a variety of services.
- In addition to Atmos Audio, the current tvOS 12 operating system offers some nice improvements, such as: B. Zero sign-on for TV apps for some cable subscribers, compatibility with third-party remote controls, and new screen savers. .
- With a software update, you can adjust settings to turn off the conversion of videos, menus and games to HDR and a fixed frame rate. Check the details and my recommended settings. .
- When this review was originally published, Apple’s iTunes was unique in charging the same price for 4K and HD movies. Now competing services like Vudu have followed suit and have largely reached the prices.
- Apple TV can discover and pair with for private listening, adds Support with multiroom audio and an automatic activation setting based on the local time.
- You can synchronize the home pages of several Apple TVs in your household and automatically mirror their arrangements and folders. When you download an app on one, it is added to another.
Inverted remote control? Put a ring on it
I’ve always loved the Apple TV remote that comes with a touchpad. Scrolling through menus and videos with a thumb feels chic and futuristic. I like the decent size and number of buttons as well as the quality feel of the materials, from metal to glass to the matte touchpad.
For many others, the Apple TV remote is the least loved feature of Apple TV. In fact, when I don’t attach the lanyard or a removed cover, I occasionally pick it up the wrong way round and wipe the bottom glass, not the top pad. A clever, ultra-minimalist design touch solves this problem in an admirable way on the Apple TV 4K remote control: there is a raised white ring around the menu button. Now it is clear at a glance which end is imminent. Apple also adds this white ring to the original Apple TV remote. Bravo!
Back in black
The box itself looks exactly like its predecessor. The only visible difference between the two is that absence a USB-C port on the back of the new one. Apple told me it was used for service only and is no longer needed.
Under the hood is Apple’s A10X Fusion processor – the same one that is in the– for faster processing and graphics than the A8 chip in the 2015 model. However, both boxes felt equally fast to me. Maybe future games will use the new processor.
The Apple TV 4K is available in 32GB and 64GB configurations. Unless you’re downloading a lot of large games, 32GB will be enough as the box carries pretty much everything else (videos, photos, etc) and the storage is mostly used for apps.
The updated connections include Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi with simultaneous 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, and Bluetooth 5.0. The video is out nowto support 4K HDR videos. The Apple TV 4K can support Dolby Digital Surround Sound and Audio.
However, the Apple TV 4K is still not compatible with YouTube’s 4K or HDR videos. “YouTube relies on thatFor the distribution and playback of 4K and HDR videos, “a YouTube representative told me.” The new Apple TV does not support VP9 and therefore we cannot deliver 4K resolution on this device. “In other words, don’t expect 4K and / or HDR YouTube videos on Apple TV anytime soon.
That’s not a huge loss as the normal 1080p videos from YouTube look very good. However, YouTube fans who insist on the highest image quality should opt for another device that delivers this in 4K, such as Roku’s 4K players or the.